Drama: Performance and Response
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Drama: performance and response (04)
For this component, students need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how drama is developed, performed and responded to.
Students must also be able to reflect on and evaluate the work of others.
This component is designed for students to explore practically and in depth both a whole performance text and the development of drama and performance. They are then assessed on the knowledge, understanding and skills they have learnt.
Through their practical study, students need to know how characters and performances communicate ideas and meaning to an audience.
The component has two sections: The study of a performance text and the development of drama and performance in Section A and an evaluation of the work of others in Section B.
For Section A, students are required to study one performance text from the following list:
- Blood Brothers – Willy Russell
- Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
- Find Me – Olwen Wymark
- Gizmo – Alan Ayckbourn
- Kindertransport – Diane Samuels
- Missing Dan Nolan – Mark Wheeller
- Misterman – Enda Walsh
Students are not permitted to have access to the text in the examination.
All of these set texts cannot be performed for assessment in the ‘Presenting and performing texts’ component.
The set texts will be reviewed after three years and may be subject to change. If a text is to be removed from the list and replaced with another text, centres will be notified a year in advance.
Students are also required to study the development of drama and performance for Section A.
For Section B, students will be required to have seen a live theatre performance. They will be required to analyse and evaluate the performance.
Students cannot answer questions using the same performance text for Section A and Section B in the examination.
At the start of the student’s answer they must state the name of the performance, the venue, and the date (month and year) the performance was seen.
Details on what can be reviewed in this section can be found in Appendix 5e.
The component is called “Drama: Performance and response.” Students therefore need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how drama is developed, performed and responded to.
Students must also be able to reflect on and evaluate the work of others. It is intended that students explore practically, and in depth both a whole performance text and the development of drama and performance to be able to complete the written assessment successfully.
Students are assessed on the knowledge, understanding and skills they have learnt. From the practical exploration, students should know how characters and performances communicate ideas and meaning to an audience.
This component is 40% of the total qualification. The component is based on the study of a set performance text, chosen by the centre from a set text list of seven options.
Section A: The study of a performance text and the development of drama and performance. Students are required to study the development of drama and performance.
Section B: An analysis and evaluation of the work of others. Students will have to have seen a live theatre performance which they must analyse and evaluate.
All of the set performance texts listed in this component cannot be performed for assessment in the ‘Presenting and performing texts’ component.
Students cannot answer questions using the same performance text for Section A and Section B in the examination.
The content required for teaching is detailed in Section 2c of the specification. This is broken down into three parts. The first part is the knowledge and understanding students must have of their set text. The second part is the knowledge and understanding of the development of drama and performance. This is content that should underpin teaching throughout the course. The third part is the knowledge and understanding that students need to draw on to analyse and evaluate live theatre.
The specimen exam questions (SAMs) give an idea of the way questions will be framed and their potential scope to help teachers and students relate the outcome of the practical sessions to written responses.
Students may see ‘written exam’ and perceive that it is desk based learning. In fact, it is not. The final summative assessment is through writing, but it is crucial that students explore practically to be able to fully show their understanding of the play.
Students will have a closed book exam and there will also be no extract booklet. This does not make the exam any harder or easier. The questions have been designed to test their knowledge without needing to refer to the performance text. Students will not be required to recall sections of the text, but need to describe practical performance examples to exemplify their answers.
‘Analysing live theatre’ can include watching recorded live theatre performances or attending a theatre performance. The play that students see needs to have enough depth to enable them to evaluate the work of others. There are no advantages or disadvantages in the choice of venue the students see ‘live theatre’ in.
Some students may get confused by the various component titles, numbers and related tasks so having an overview of the content and a timeline could be helpful, as a visual reminder of which performance text relates to what assessment. This can also help to section up the course for those students who have a fear of retaining information for the linear assessment model.
Students may feel that performance texts that are well known are easier than those that are not as renowned. This is not the case. Each text is studied by the student in the same depth for the assessment they are completing.
Students may want to watch a performance of the text they are studying for Section A (even though they can’t use it for Section B) as a way of understanding the text. Be mindful that this can cause them to have a predetermined opinion of the play rather than create their own interpretation.
Once the initial teaching of the play has happened, it can be helpful to support students by taking them to see a production of the text for Section A. They can see their performance text in production and envisage whether their ideas and understanding work in performance.
Higher ability students can direct and design elements of the production, taking the lead for the rest of the class. Task a higher ability student to construct a 1:25 scale model box that is taken from a lower ability student’s ideas. The rest of the class can then work from this, and it can be a way to extend and support students at the same time.
Look at elements of the performance text that plays to students strengthens. For example, if you have musicians, incorporate live music into rehearsals of Blood Brothers and discuss how this adds to the performance.
Remember that a student who has higher or lower ability in Drama might be the opposite elsewhere in the curriculum so look to layer cross curricular options into the teaching where possible and appropriate.
All the questions on the exam paper are compulsory. There are no separate questions specific to each set text.
The centre has the choice of which performance text to teach from a list of seven set texts. The set text list will be reviewed after three years and may change, but as a centre you will be notified a year in advance.
The play you chose for your students to analyse and evaluate for Section B up to you, however remember you must not choose the play you have studied for Section A. Guidance on what types of performance are appropriate for this exam can be found in Appendix 5e.
All students must be taught about acting, performing, design and directing. Within design questions in Section A students have the option to select which design most appeals to them and suits their design ideas. Students can use sketches/diagrams within certain answers to help with their explanation/answer.
The component has two sections (A and B) making a total of 80 marks.
Section A – 8 questions – 50 marks
Section B – extended answer one question – 30 marks
At the start of Section A the students’ must indicate which performance text they have studied. The questions vary in terms of length and demand expected, ranging from 4 to 8 mark questions. This is arranged as follows:
At the start of the student’s answer in Section B they must state the name of the performance, the venue, and the date (month and year) the performance was seen. This is to support the examiner marking the response.
Students should spend longer answering Section A than Section B because of the weighting of marks. There are 80 marks in the paper and 90 minutes allowed. Students should spend about 1 minute on a question for each mark available. This leaves 10 minutes to read through and check their answers.
When students are preparing for their own practical work in Presenting and performing texts (03/04), they should consider how those skills relate to the performance work they will observe in Section B.
Students who are learning to do technical and design elements for Component 03 can then use these practical skills to envisage and relate to the technical and design aspects to their set performance text.
The content in Section A: the development of drama and performance should be integrated into teaching of the rest of the course. This means that the terminology will be familiar to students where they are used in questions in the exam paper.
The follow command words are examples that may be used in questions in Section A:
- How could
- To what extent
These command words assess the Assessment Objective (AO3) that requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of drama.
Teachers should remember that students should fundamentally be exploring a set text practically in preparation for a written assessment.
Starting with an overview of the how the play is constructed, number of acts, scenes and the number of characters etc. can be a good way to give the who class some basic facts.
Then move on to the themes within the play and these themes will inevitably link to the social, historical and cultural context to the play.
Once students understand how it is constructed, the characters, the themes and the social, historical and cultural context they should be able to read and understand the meanings, subtexts and playwright inferences within the script.
You can also study each scene, looking at the scene setting information and begin to have students think about the setting, lighting, sound and technical/design scene information the script gives.
Having a model box created by a class could be made at the beginning of the unit for them all to work from as you move on with the play. Or, likewise, the students could build a model box once you have read it through.
You could, of course, do the whole process the other way round and completely read the play first. Then given them all the information and research tasks.
There is useful devising to be done around a text’s central (or minor) characters and the main plotline. This develops understanding, empathy and ideas for further development. Small groups of 4 or 5 are about right for most devising work.
They should be encouraged to rotate the parts frequently. It often proves counter-productive if one or two students monopolise the principle roles. The work is not being prepared for a public performance as such, so students of all abilities should be able to offer a character and be the director at least for a time.
The suggested exercises are teacher established, but should quickly become student-operated. Indeed, from earlier in the course, it should be that students find devising around, improvising and exploring a text second nature.
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